The Good Glass for Peanuts Era started about 5 years ago when all of a sudden, it seemed, every big-name manufacturer was rolling out shockingly good binoculars in the $250 to $350 range. The GGP era rolls on in 2014, but the big wrinkle we noticed at the SHOT show is that this year glass-makers seem to be willing to take even fewer nuts for very serviceable binos.

Bushnell’s Excursion EX is a perfect example: BaK-4 PC-phase coated roof prism, fully multi-coated optics, 100-percent water- and fogproof, rubber-armored with soft-tough thumb grip, all for well under $200. We looked at several new roof-prism models in this price range and the consensus is that while the step down in price comes with a step down in image quality–the latter is an pretty durn small step. What you get is very impressive for the price.